You own the home but your tenant is living in it.
So, who is responsible for things like maintenance, utilities, pest control, and air filters?
That will depend on your Las Vegas lease agreement, which should stipulate in detail who is responsible for what.
There are certain obvious standards. Most tenants understand they’re responsible for paying the rent. Landlords in Las Vegas know it’s their job to provide a safe, habitable, well-maintained home.
The uncertainty usually rests in minor maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. Maintaining a rental property requires a transparent and trusting partnership between owners, tenants, and vendors. You need to be clear about what’s expected from your tenants and there has to be some documented division of responsibilities.
If you’re working with a Las Vegas property management company, there’s not much for you to worry about. Your property managers will take care of anything that you as an owner would normally be responsible for. You’ll have to pay the bills, but you won’t be the one searching for plumbers and holding tenants accountable.
However, if you’re an independent landlord wondering how to approach the maintenance and repairs needed at your property, you’ll need to know what your responsibilities are and what you can reasonably expect from your tenants.
Let’s go back to the importance of a strong lease agreement. You need to have one that’s legally enforceable and clear. You also need a reliable network of licensed and insured vendor and contractors. Finally, you’ll really need a willingness to talk openly and transparently to your tenants so they’re clear on their own responsibilities and your expectations.
Las Vegas Lease Agreements and Tenant Communication
Everything pertaining to your Las Vegas rental property starts with the lease agreement. The lease you sign with your tenants is the best tool in protecting your property and dividing up the responsibilities of maintaining it.
The language in your lease agreement should answer most questions. With the right lease, you can avoid confusion about who should be doing what. You can also avoid disputes, conflicts, and even lawsuits.
You need to do more than list the responsibilities of all parties in the lease. You also need to talk about these things. Keep expectations consistent by reviewing pertinent parts of the lease with your tenants before they move in. Make sure they understand the process for paying rent and reporting maintenance. Talk to them about how frequently the air filters need to be changed.
Important Las Vegas Landlord Responsibilities
Your main responsibility as a landlord is pretty clear. You have to provide a rental home that’s safe and habitable. You have to maintain the systems and functions of that property. This includes everything from access to running water and heat to a roof that doesn’t leak.
Here’s how to make sure you’re meeting all of your responsibilities when it comes to maintaining your investment property.
- Conduct Inspections.
Before the selected move-in date, walk through the property with a move-in condition checklist, and verify that everything is in good working order. Not only are you fulfilling your responsibility of providing a habitable home, you’re also documenting the condition of your property, which can help you later on when the tenant has moved out and you’re deciding what looks like damage and what looks like wear and tear.
- Respond to Routine and Emergency Maintenance.
You are responsible for repairing and maintaining all of the major functions and systems in the property, including the electricity, the plumbing, the heating, and the appliances. You’ll need to respond to these repair issues and pay for them.
Landlords are also responsible for responding to emergencies. If the tenant calls because a sink began leaking and the house is flooding, you’ll be responsible for responding to that emergency and making any repairs that are needed to keep the home habitable.
- Review the Safety Features of Your Rental Property
Safety is the responsibility of both you and your tenant. Your job is to make sure your rental home has a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. Check the locks on all doors and windows. Look for trip hazards or potentially dangerous conditions. Review safety issues every time you’re in the property.
Las Vegas Landlords and General Wear
After a tenant moves out and you’re preparing the property to rent again, you’ll have to make some upgrades, repairs, and cosmetic improvements. This is your responsibility when it’s normal wear. Tenant damage is another matter. But those minor issues you encounter during a turnover? That’s a landlord issue.
During your move-out inspection, you’ll probably notice scuff marks on the wall and in the carpet from where furniture was placed. You’ll find nail holes in the walls and extra lint in the dryer hoses. You’ll have to pay for these repairs. Tenants aren’t required to pay for anything except damage that they caused at the property or lease violations that resulted in extra expenses.
This responsibility is more easily met when you’ve put together a great network of vendors and contractors. You’ll want to schedule any work that’s necessary right away so you can get your property back on the market as quickly as possible.
Develop relationships with an outstanding team of partners who stand by their work, charge competitive rates, and provide preventative services as well as immediate responses. At the very least, you’ll need a good plumber, an electrician, a roofer, an HVAC tech, and a team of people who can provide lawn care, snow removal, cleaning, painting, and flooring.
Las Vegas Tenant Responsibilities
You want your tenants to always take responsibility for reporting maintenance. Deferred and unreported maintenance issues are always more expensive and complicated. You need tenants who will immediately notify you when something is broken or in need of attention. You want to know right away, even if you’re not going to be able to make a minor repair for a few days.
Reinforce this responsibility with your residents through the lease agreement and while you’re talking about how to report the need for repairs.
Sometimes, we encounter tenants who are hesitant to report issues because they don’t want to be disruptive or they worry they’ll be blamed or even charged for the repair. A good relationship with your tenant will avoid this delay. You don’t want small leaks turning into large plumbing disasters.
While landlords are typically responsible for most repairs and replacements, there are some specific occasions where you can expect your tenants to take responsibility.
For example, you can reasonably expect your tenant to keep the property clean. We know that everyone has a different standard of cleanliness, but your tenants should know that they need to at least keep the property clean enough that there isn’t a problem with pests, insects, or trash inside the home.
Air filters can also be a tenant responsibility. Let them change air filters regularly. Some owners order air filters to be delivered directly to the tenant’s door. You can have this done and then charge the tenants or include the amount in the rent. It will keep the responsibility in the hands of your tenants, but you can also be sure that those air filters are being changed when necessary.
Tenants can also replace light bulbs when they burn out. If a battery needs replacing in a remote device, the tenants should buy the battery rather than expecting their landlord to do it.
Minor repairs that are easily and safely managed can be a tenant’s responsibility. If a screen comes off a window, the tenant can put it back into place. If a garbage disposal needs to be reset, the tenant can safely push that button.
Tenants Are Responsible for Tenant Damage
Damage that’s caused by a tenant or a tenant’s guest is always the tenant’s responsibility. When something breaks because of a tenant’s abuse or misuse, that’s something you can charge to them. A tenant’s toilet overflowing because of a child flushing a toy, for example, is something for which tenants can be held accountable. If a fight breaks out and a hole is punched in the drywall, your tenants can be expected to pay for it.
If your rental property is in an HOA, your tenant is also responsible for following those rules and regulations. This isn’t necessarily a repair issue, but if the HOA sends a letter about the grass being too long and the tenants are responsible for the lawn according to your lease agreement, any fines or penalties levied from the HOA should be the responsibility of the tenant.
Landlords and Tenants and Utilities
Generally, your tenants should be required to set up utility accounts in their own names before they move in. This puts them in charge of the billing and the payments. In some cases, such as multi-family properties, it may make sense for the landlord to maintain control over the accounts and bill each tenant either by usage or by splitting up the costs.
Avoid complications by leaving tenants responsible for their own utilities when you can. And again – put the requirement in your lease agreement.
Not sure how to divide up the duties or state them in your lease agreement? We can help. Please contact our team at Strawberry Management Las Vegas.